For travelers who will be driving in Italy, becoming familiar with the country's driving laws is highly advised. In this section, we'll talk in depth about the rules of the road and standard driving regulations in Italy that you'll be expected to obey when touring the country by car.
Italy Driving Laws: Minimum Age and Rules Pertaining to Children
The minimum age to drive in Italy is 18 years old, and in order to rent a car in Italy, you must have held your license for at least one year.
Drivers who are renting a car in Italy who are between the ages of 18-24 are required to pay approximately EUR 19.40 per day (maximum EUR 390.40), VAT included, paid locally.
Age restrictions for rental cars in Italy may vary depending on desired car category.
Children under 59 inches tall must travel in a child seat adapted to their size and weight, while also wearing additional safety belts that comply with national and European safety standards.
Driving Insurance and Other Safety Rules
Insurance and other related documents must be kept in your rental car at all times.
In the event that your rental car is accidentally damaged while driving in Italy, regardless of who is at fault, or if the vehicle is stolen, the insurance excess is the maximum amount you are liable for. In Italy, the base price for access starts at €600.
An International Driver's Permit (IDP) is required to drive in Italy. This document translates your US driver's license into multiple languages and may be purchased at the American Automobile Club or the National Auto Club.
A red warning triangle must be kept in your rental car (be sure to check for this before leaving the rental desk) to be used in the event of a breakdown or accident.
It is illegal to talk or text on a mobile device while driving in Italy, if caught, you could receive a large fine.
The legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit in Italy is 0.05% and drivers who are caught driving under the influence will receive serious fines or even be forced to serve jail time.
Other Italy Driving Rules
A driver who has held their license for three years or less must not exceed 62mph while driving in Italy.
Seatbelts are required for both drivers and passengers. Fines may be issued on the spot for drivers and passengers who are found driving without their seatbelt.
On three-lane motorways, the lane on the right is reserved for slow vehicles and vehicles that are not overtaking.
The left passing lane, or fast lane, is really only for passing. Do not get in this lane and just cruise, people who use this lane are typically traveling well over 100mph, let them have their space.
At crossings, vehicles approaching form the right always have the right of way.
Speed limits are as follows: 80mph/highways, 68mph/highways when wet, 68mph/dual carriageways, 56mph/open roads, 50mph/open roads when wet, 31mph/inside cities.
Large fines can be issued for speeding violations in Italy, and have the authority to collect fines on the spot.
When driving on the autostrada, freeways or highways in Italy, you must drive with your headlights on.
Pollution in a number of Italian cities, especially cities in the North can be very high. To cut down on this, many cities impose a Zone of Limited Traffic (ZTL). Be sure to check with the local car rental desk or hotel to see if the Italian city you're visiting enforces a ZTL.